Understanding the constant changes in U.S. entry requirements since 9/11 can sometimes seem like a hopeless task. Obviously, every few months, the US government will announce new restrictions on the entry of foreigners, adding a lot of red tapes related to visits. However, there are some basic rules that apply to these requirements, which are detailed on the U.S. Department of State website (and should be checked frequently for updates).
Visa Exemption Countries
Under the Visa Waiver Program, if you are a citizen of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, most Western European countries, or selected other countries, such as Singapore, Japan, and Brunei (27 in total), and you are visiting the United States for less than 90 days, You need an On-going or return ticket, machine-readable passport (MRP) and visa exemption form.
The airline will provide a visa exemption form, which must be submitted to the immigration office on arrival. The same form covers entry through the U.S. bordering Canada and Mexico. If you participate in the Visa Waiver Program and intend to work, study, or stay for more than 90 days, you must apply for a regular visa through the local US embassy or consulate. British citizens must apply in person at the U.S. Embassy in London.
Canadian citizens do not always need a passport to enter the United States. They must carry a passport when entering the United States. If you plan to stay longer than 90 days, you must apply for a visa.
Citizens of all other countries/regions should contact their local US embassy or consulate for details of current entry requirements, as they usually need to hold a valid passport and non-immigrant visitor visa. To obtain this visa, please fill out the application form provided by your local US embassy or consulate and submit it along with the appropriate fee, two photos, and passport-valid for 6 months after the end of your planned stay.
For more information or to obtain a visa extension before the time expires, please contact your nearest USCIS office whose address will be under the list of federal government offices on the front of the phone book